Freunde und Familie:
Another week in Neukölln and the weather is definitely getting colder. Today we have sunshine which makes it all bareable. I am having flashbacks to being in Rexburg trying to figure out why there were people living there in the Winter time.
This week has been incredibly successful. But first, my new companion!
My new companion, Elder Breitenstein, is great. He cracks me up. He moved around a lot, but his family is actually living in Novato, California! Super close to me! He is really great at switching between being a goof-ball and relaxing and then switching to be serious and spiritual. We all have special gifts and I think his is praying. He always makes his prayers different, he remembers everything and everyone (which I am trying to work on), and has so much faith that God will answer our prayers. I saw this happen when he first came to serve with me in Berlin. We have made it a weekly goal to find 2 German investigators every week, so that we could teach and baptize more Germans who could lead the Church here in the future. Our first day, we did some weekly planning so we could both get up-to-date with plans and people, we made a few goals for the month, and then we prayed for help. That evening, we went out and just went finding for a few hours. We accomplished out goal that next day and found several more prepared people. Heavenly father answers our prayers when we align our will with his. Not only to I love the feeling we have supporting the Bishop and his vision for the Gemeinde, but I love the feeling of working with someone who has the same vision as me, is excited to make the necessary changes needed, and supports me in my decisions and ideas. Elder Breitenstein is ganz neu here and, on day one, I told him what I wanted to start doing here (finding more Germans and changing how we do member missionary work) and he immediately started helping think of how we could do both of these. Our hard work is paying off, even in this first week, and I can feel the strength of the Lord helping us. We have some work to do and so much to learn from one another.
Saturday is the baptism of a man the Elder Fuller and I started teaching. He had read the Book of Mormon all the way through in two days and is so prepared. He loves this Gospel so much and I can see how happy it makes him. This will be the first baptism that I was able to start and “finish.” Our conversion is never truly over. I am kind of nervous organizing the baptism and confirmation. I have never done this and I want it to be done right. Our Friend of the Church is kind of shy and cannot speak German. So I am nervous about him integrating well with the Gemeinde. I have no idea who will give the talks, who will do the ordidnances, or who will even come to be honest. But I know that Heavenly Father will continue to answer my prayers and help us to make a spiritual program that he can always remember.
There is one scripture that has been continually coming up in my mind this week. No matter where we are, we can always have the Spirit – or Power, even . of God with us, He is always there leading and guiding us. Yesterday, a member shared her testimony is Fast and Testimony Meeting. She said that, regardless of the weather or our circumstnces, when we have God by our side, we can make the best out of any situation. When we doubt ourselves, we have God and his strength by us to lift us up. There is a lot of personal will power in this as well. We must decide for ourselves that we will be lifted up: that we will wake up in the morning, that we will smile more today, that we will call that person, or start exercising more. We read in Matthew 1:23 that the name Emmanuel – a name of Jesus Christ – literally translates to “God with us.” When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and, therefore, we can always have Emmanuel. We can always have “God with us.”
I am blessed to be in the heartland of Christmas. The Germans have started Advent here and are – I am hoping – all in a seasonal mood to give and love and celebrate and be happy. I love studying the life of Christ during this special time of the year and cannot wait to celebrate His Resurrection in the Spring – when it’s warm.
Elder RR Hoffman
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der letzten Tage
Germany Berlin Mission